As we near the length of a public school year (40 weeks) in our Seed To Seedling homeschool, and Elizabeth gets older and more accustomed to school, I have noticed a change in her in relation to school.
In the first few weeks in which we homeschooled, I tried to follow the parent guide as it was written out and within the time-frame they suggested, but I was hurrying her along too much, too many of the activities were too repetitive, and I could see that she wasn’t enjoying it. Actually, she put the breaks on and I wondered if I would even continue with the curriculum or give up trying to school at all for a while. (Check out Reflections, Week 3 and The Learning Experience. Reflections, Week 4 for more on that.) But I continued gingerly forward, asking her if she would like to do our organized activities and honoring her answer – whether it was yes or no. By loosening the reins quite a bit and following her lead on how long we spent on a particular activity, as well as relaxing about how much we fit into a single day, school has become a pleasure for her again – actually something that she wants to do – and she often asks what is on the agenda for the day/week, or directly asks to “do school.”
So, she likes school, that is good. Recently, we have begun to move towards doing more and more activities per day. Whereas previously we did one, maybe two, activities in an afternoon before her attention span would wane or she would want to act the teacher and decide what we played, now she is willing to do a two or three, depending on what I have planned.
Elizabeth is also willing to work for a much longer time-frame than when we began our schooling. Previously, she maxed out at an hour (me too), but recently she spent a few hours doing dino-themed painting, then making a holiday project, then returning to the curriculum activities I had planned, until I said that she could be done if she wished because she had been going for so long and my attention was failing. If she had wished to continue, I would have, but she chose to clean up and postpone the project for a different day.
Lastly, I can see in Elizabeth that she is now old enough to continue working on our school activities just because I say she must finish them. On the dino activities I spoke of above, she just kept working along with me because it was what was expected; she is old enough to accept that responsibility, she is mature enough to not balk at what is expected of her – and she goes forward with it happily. On the same note, she agreed to do school work at Grandpa’s house the other day because we had been gone all morning and needed to get to it (though we didn’t end up going because of Brother). Her continuing to work through multiple projects for hours is a testament to me that she is partially doing the work because she likes it, but partially because I am telling her she must. If I had sent her to public school this past September, she would have been subject to all-day pre-k, but I don’t think that she was mature enough to endure a 7-hour class day. I still couldn’t say if she would respond well to a 7-hour day, but working for 2-3 hours straight on projects has become manageable – and is pretty impressive to me!
It is a joy to watch her as she grows, and a joy to know her. It’s always a fun conversation, one that is held with my Elizabeth. I treasure the time we spend together in homeschooling, because not only is it fun to participate in the activities with her, but it’s also fun to watch her learn as we move along. Definitely one reason that I homeschool is to be with my kids, not just because I think I can do a better job or scoff at the educational system, but mainly because I like to be with them.
Share your thoughts: Did you see a change come over your child in the first year that you homeschooled? How so?